Reports: John Beilein Interviewed For Pistons Job

Reports: John Beilein Interviewed For Pistons Job

Submitted by Ace on June 1st, 2018 at 4:11 PM
MOVE ALONG NOTHING TO SEE HERE [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

A Wojbomb has struck Ann Arbor:

Wojnarowski's report was corroborated by the Freep's Pistons beat writer, Vincent Ellis, who added some detail:

Woj mentioned a couple other candidates in a quick article posted shortly after the news broke:

Sources told ESPN that Beilein and former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey met Thursday in Michigan with Pistons officials -- a contingent that included new senior adviser Ed Stefanski and coaching search consultants Bernie Bickerstaff and Jim Lynam.

Detroit also is planning to meet with Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard this weekend.

I won't lie: this isn't the news I wanted to hear, especially since The Athletic's Brendan Quinn tweeted that "a number of people extremely close to Beilein" were not aware this meeting occurred. Beilein, notably, acts as his own agent. The Pistons are owned by Tom Gores, noted Spartan who's done a not-so-great job of running the franchise since buying it from the family of noted Wolverine William Davidson.

[After THE JUMP: nonnonono]

This Week’s Obsession: How Do We Fill Crisler?

This Week’s Obsession: How Do We Fill Crisler?

Submitted by Seth on January 30th, 2018 at 2:07 PM

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Seating available [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: You should stop waiting. I know it’s been on your to-do list for awhile. It’s time to talk to Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management and get your future squared away instead of thinking about it all the time.

Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

-------------------------------

The Question:

The absence of team partisans has been a problem for awhile, and this year especially. What should be done?

-------------------------

The Responses:

Ace: The lower bowl rarely fills even for big games these days, despite renovations and a decade-long tenure under a great coach whose program plays a fun brand of basketball. I’ve been screaming about expanding the Maize Rage’s courtside section for ages now. They show up earlier and more reliably than townies; they’re louder and more fun; they’ll buy more tickets if they know they have a chance at courtside seats. (Having practically zero shot was a huge deterrent when I was in school.)

There are more issues, but that’s the number one thing for me. When you see the Maize Rage on TV compared to other student sections, it’s a little embarrassing, and that’s not on the Maize Ragers.

It gets extremely frustrating to see them fill several upper bowl sections for big games while townies skip out on lower bowl seats.

They’re also best-equipped to work through the constant excuses I hear for why people don’t show up: bad weather, games too close to dinner, games too late, games too perfectly timed in the evening, etc.

Brian: While I agree that the maize rage should be expanded that takes a huge philosophical leap for the department where something other than the bottom line matters. I thought things would get better with Warde Manuel in charge, and I guess they have. Nobody's trying to put a giant noodle in Michigan stadium or momentarily banning seat cushions.

But I have to admit I'm pretty disappointed that Manuel is just a guy. His tenure at Michigan is a complete blank so far. He has not taken any steps to un-do the damage Brandon wrought, and has continued to maximize ticket revenue at all costs. Without taking a step back there it will remain as it is for all time.

Because it will cost money to make Crisler a better environment.

Ace: I really want someone to show him this:

image

image

The staid atmosphere hurts the team. Michigan is 12th in the conference in home-court advantage by KenPom’s rankings.

[How can we incentivize you to hit THE JUMP?]

crilser1

The kids are alright. [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

Unverified Voracity Should Be Fine

Unverified Voracity Should Be Fine

Submitted by Brian on September 6th, 2016 at 12:27 PM

As per usual the edition of UV right after preview week is a catchup one with some old stuff I wasn't able to get to for obvious reasons.

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[Upchurch]

The very latest on injuries. Per UMBig11:

Already some good news this morning. Mone (crutches), initial return to the field was looking like week 6. That is moving up to week 5 and possibly sooner. Taco (no cast, no boot, no crutches), maybe sitting one week and at most two.

I got some conflicting information about Mone but I'm not sure what the latest is. Either way it sounds like he should be good to go for the home stretch. Everyone else except Noah Furbush has a short-term ding that is a week tops.

Also, Denard Robinson Cook dropped the spout of a French press full of tea on my now very blue toe. I am day to day. 

Speight profiled. Dan Murphy talks to Wilton Speight's high school coach and somewhat infamous QB guru Steve Clarkson; Clarkson reveals that Speight was on the verge of exiting:

“There was a time when he was contemplating leaving,” Clarkson said. “He had a conversation with Coach Harbaugh and Coach just said, ‘Hell, why are you thinking of leaving? You didn’t even get a chance to compete all spring. That essentially gave him confidence that he just needed to show what he can do. Since that conversation Wilton has taken that to heart and he sort of ran with it.”

There was a period in there where I was expecting that news any moment; good for both him and Michigan that it never came.

Manuel gameday. Max Bultman follows Michigan's AD around on game day. With permission. Probably. Anyway:

Manuel is a large, swaggering man, and he’s very easy to recognize. Fans holler to Manuel and frequently ask for pictures. Usually, he hollers back, sometimes in kind, others with a “Go Blue!” He poses for a lot of photos.

At the intersection of Main and West Stadium, Manuel greets a police officer. He does this many times on game day, and it stands out. He even asks one about his wife and kids. Later, Manuel explains that he got to know the force through the late Vada Murray, a police officer and Manuel’s best friend. He doesn’t have much spare time today, but he still stops when he can, nearly always with a charismatic greeting.

That’s the nature of his Saturday: so little time, so many hands to shake and so many people to catch up with.

Manuel is described as a personable man.

Artfully phrased. PFF looks at "How Michigan State can reload its defense," which is in fact a sneaky way to deliver a pile of bad news. Topics:

  • Malik McDowell is real good.
  • None of the other five returning DL had a positive pass rush grade; Demetrius Cooper's Big Ten season consisted of just eight pressures.
  • Linebackers Riley Bullough and Jon Reschke missed a ton of tackles, with Bullough –12.7 on the ground.
  • The three starters back in the secondary, well: "In 2015, the above trio combined to give up eight touchdowns compared to 11 total passes defended, and each of the three gave up completion rates of at least 62 percent. To put this in perspective, the top player returning in the secondaries of Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota and Northwestern all defended at least seven passes on their own and gave up completion percentages of under 51 percent last year."

Jury's still out on improvements after MSU's struggle against a 4-7 FCS team, but improvements will have to be had if MSU's D is going to keep pace with recent performance.

Also in this department is an interesting if slightly overlong breakdown of Tyler O'Connor's performance in the MSU opener from an MSU fan:

A reader summarizes this guy's take if you don't have time to wade through that:

1) The first and biggest observation is that not once all game did O'Connor look to his 2nd read in the passing game. And I don't mean that he didn't throw to him. On literally every pass in the 2 videos (which I'm pretty sure was every throw O'Connor had), O'Connor did not turn his head away from his first target. …

2) This is probably a result of the first issue, but O'Connor held onto the ball way too long. I will say that I think the video creator was being a little too harsh on O'Connor at times, especially on some of the play action passes as it looked like O'Connor got the ball out as soon his feet were set.

First game jitters maybe, but that'll be something to look for against Notre Dame to see if there's improvement.

One-upping Brady Hoke. Never talk to me or my son again about how Les Miles would have been a good choice.

The Hat is very entertaining but his offense has always been a trundling wreck.

It's aggressive, but…. It's not this aggressive:

"I'd say, like, 90 percent," Stribling said.

Yes, he estimated that Michigan blitzed on 90 percent of its defensive play calls against the woebegone Rainbow Warriors.

But then Stribling kept thinking, and, man, maybe it was actually more than that.

"I don't think any play was not a blitz, besides a cover-2," he said. "And we blitzed out of that, too."

Michigan rushed four about half the time in the first half per my charting. There was some run blitzing, but it's not that maniacal. It's only fairly maniacal.

The freshman-only locker room is an odd Harbaugh thing. Another tweak like split squad practices:

Starting in camp, and lasting throughout the duration of the season, Harbaugh has his first-year players surround themselves with their peers. For a variety of reasons.

A year ago, it worked for both Newsome and Perry. In 2016, that number has taken a lift.

"It really allows you to bond as a class. You can really focus on getting better and improving your skills without having to worry about being in the older locker room and trying to compare yourself to those guys," Newsome, now a sophomore starter at left tackle, said Monday. "It really allows you to just focus on becoming a class."

There will never be tangible evidence this is good or bad. It is an interesting team morale thing.

Wisconsin has our attention. But the one downer from the weekend was an injury to starting LB Chris Orr that will knock him out for the year. That happened very early and didn't seem to have much negative impact on a very good LB corps:

Aside from a couple of miscues in which the defense allowed RB Leonard Fournette to break contain, the linebackers did a fine job of containing the Heisman candidate. OLB T.J. Watt led the way with a team-high five stops, but OLB Vince Biegel was right behind him with four. They held Fournette to only 2.7 yards after contact per rush, and that happened only three times all of last season.

I'm a little more skeptical about PFF's take on UW corner Derrick Tindal, who did indeed break up a number of (late, inaccurate) passes in the vicinity of Malachi Dupre. He looked overmatched and fortunate to me; we'll see if his performance carries over.

Etc.: How the world changed around Nebraska. Ed Davis still waiting. Phil Brabbs doing thangs. Tennessee blogs worry how much they should worry about Mike DeBord, and this was before the Appalachian State game. If you would like to know all that there is to know about Illinois football, Illini Board is the place. Xavier Simpson profiled.

Maize and Blue Nation has game recap bullets. Congrats to the Hoover Street Rag on ten years.

Warde Manuel Round Table 8/23/16

Warde Manuel Round Table 8/23/16

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on August 25th, 2016 at 9:44 AM

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[Upchurch]

[Ed. A- I couldn’t make it to this presser, but Josh Henschke and our good friends at The Michigan Insider were kind enough to send along some video for me to transcribe.]

On who can make the call to change the years Michigan plays MSU on the road:

“It’s a combination of television, and where we have control it falls on the home team and not the visiting team, and that’s usually in conference and non-conference. But most of that now, any game changing assignments, time assignments, is usually done by television through the conference office. We don’t really have a lot of say. They may ask us what we’d like to do, but we now don’t have a say in picking the game times at this point.”

On breaking up the two home, two away format of the schedule and whether that’s something he’s pursuing:

“Conversations are continuing to be had about what we’d like but there’s 13 other schools in the conference. Scheduling, whether you have 10 teams in the league, eight teams in the league, or 14 like we do, is very hard to do. I don’t negate that. Would I love to see Ohio State and Michigan State on different years? Yes. Do I think it’s hard to do given where we are now? Yes. Will I continue to still have the conversations that need to be had to try to see if there’s anything that can be done? Yes. Is it easy? No.”

On whether he plans to present that to the board:

“I plan on having any conversation I need to have to the benefit of Michigan athletics. Listen, I have great colleagues. Jim Delany is a great commissioner. We have a great staff in the Big Ten. I have great colleagues across the conferences. We all have different things, tweaks, that we may like to see. I’m not the sole member that may want tweaks and changes to the schedule. As soon as we can have that conversation with everyone or individually, and conversations I’ve already had and discussion points, I’m working to understand as well as to talk about what I believe is in the best interest of Michigan.”

On whether Michigan will have to wait until the next batch of schedules is released to make a change:

“Probably, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s not going to change overnight. It’s trying to figure out how we can make any adjustments, and people know that we would like to see an adjustment to that.”

On changing the schedules that are in place:

“Listen, I’m not proposing that what we already have changes immediately, but I do want to have the conversation—I have had some—to understand and…but again, in talking to some of my colleagues, there are some things that other ADs would like to see on their football schedules. So, while we talk about the imbalance of Michigan State and Ohio State, both of them being away or at home, they have other tweaks or changes that they would like to see on their schedule. And once you start putting all that together, now you’ve got a big cauldron of issues that you’ve got to try and figure out, right?

“It’s not as simple as me saying, ‘Well, we want this’ and everybody saying, ‘Okay, we’ll just change it.’ If you start to make the changes—and you guys are very smart—as you start to look at the other schedules you’ll see that there’s more moves than just flipping one to one year and keeping the other on the other year. I mean, there’s more that needs to happen. So, it’s complex enough that the conversations need to be had and I’ll continue to have them when the issue comes up.”

[After THE JUMP: who has input on alternate uniforms, Harbaugh as attention lightning rod, and a bit about Harbaugh’s contract]

Unverified Voracity Breaks Comma Usage Portion Of Brain

Unverified Voracity Breaks Comma Usage Portion Of Brain

Submitted by Brian on June 21st, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Scouting Charles Matthews. Scout's Xavier site put together an uncommonly useful reel from Matthews's freshman year at Kentucky:

They don't cover some of the downsides, which comprise almost everything that can go in a Kenpom profile. Matthews had vanishingly small usage, turned the ball over a lot—although low usage will magnify TORate on a small number of TOs—and shot just 42% from the free throw line. All of these numbers have a low sample size, but it's clear Beilein has his work cut out for him developing the offensive side of Matthews's game.

Hudson destroys all comers. Pennsylvania's Big 33 game against Maryland was a few days ago*. Pennsylvania featuring an array of D-I talent. Most of the top guys from PA were there, including five-star PSU RB Miles Sanders, USC TE Cary Angeline, a half-dozen Pitt commits, and Slippery Rock DT Clark Wilford. Hudson blew these dudes out of the water. Hudson was the game MVP per the announcers (the organizers gave it to Sanders) and his coach raved about him to Chris Balas:

“He is an absolute freak,” Pennsylvania head coach Mike Matta of Downingtown East High said. “I didn’t look in advance to see if he’s a three-star, four-star, five-star or what, but I saw the film before the game, and when he got here … I can’t believe he got out of the state. Actually, I can’t believe everybody in the world didn’t make this kid a priority. There’s nothing he can’t do … and what he can do is just outrageous.”

Pitt partisans can only sigh and put weird commas everywhere at his escape:

Doing us all a favor, I'll get the Khaleke Hudson portion out of the way, first. If you watched the game, you undoubtedly understand the reference.  "There's that number 21, again…" … seemed to be the only player on the field, tonight.

Various reporters we like… dang:

Hudson had a ridiculous punt return that was wiped out by penalty and thus not included in the clips VSN TV posted to YouTube.

*[Ohio dumped their traditional matchup in the Big 33 game because they kept getting housed, then tried playing Michigan, got housed a couple times, and has now given up entirely.]

Hawkins wobble: stand down? Brad Hawkins was recently the subject of a bunch of internet rumormongering based on the fact that he scrubbed his twitter page of any Michigan mentions and was not yet in the student directory—everyone else is accounted for. Ominous, but unless something drastic happened in the last few days it seems like it's a false alarm. Philly.com just named him their South Jersey player of the year, and the article to accompany the honor is pretty explicit about Hawkins's near future:

Hawkins has signed to attend the University of Michigan on a football scholarship. He plans to depart Friday for Ann Arbor to begin summer workouts.

Hawkins, who also is a strong student, stood outside the fence at Camden's football field at Farnham Park the other day and marveled at the speed with which his high school career had passed.

If he's not on campus by this weekend then you can start running in circles.

Man did I biff this one. The Swiss national team had a jersey blowout reminiscent of the various issues Michigan had a couple years back, and one of the infinite Swiss soccer players with an X in his name seriously outperformed yours truly when trying to snap back at the clothing company:

The shortage of action in France and Switzerland’s dull 0-0 draw in Lille on Sunday night prompted increased attention on deficient equipment, with Swiss kits tearing easier than paper and the winger Xherdan Shaqiri telling Blick: “I hope Puma does not produce condoms.”

Can't win 'em all. /kicks dirt

While the company in question here is Puma, the Only Incompetent Germans couldn't let a fiasco like this go by without getting involved:

Adidas were also left red-faced when one of their Beau Jeu footballs burst when Antoine Griezmann was challenged by Valon Behrami. One of Griezmann’s studs appeared to put a hole in the ball. The balls retail at £105.

Nike stuff will be available at Moe's in just under two months, everybody.

A minor fan revolt in Nebraska. Via GTP, the Cornhuskers made some news a few weeks ago when some Nebraska season tickets actually went on sale to the public. The local paper took the opportunity to interview some discontents in Lincoln. Nebraska has a get-in-the-door fee of 2500 that is causing a lot of people to balk:

Aaron says: “How many people out there are able to pony up a $2,500 donation per seat — or even $2,000 for seats in the east balcony? Drop that down to something people are more comfortable with and they’ll go in a heartbeat. The desire of fans to see NU play is still there, but the price of attendance has to be rationalized. (Shawn) Eichorst is no dummy, he’ll get it figured out.”

The rub is, these donations have been factored into the NU athletic budget for years. Take them out, or reduce them, and what fills the void? Scott has a thought:

“I can’t believe that the donations that would go away couldn’t be replaced by a $40 million Big Ten annual check.”

Scott also reminded: “In a previous century, considering the fact that 1) we were winning national championships, and 2) every game was not on TV, you could charge a donation to get tickets.”

This guy nails one of the worst feelings the Brandon regime imposed on Michigan fans:

“What really makes me hate the streak are those signs at the stadium: ‘Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football.’ It’s a guilt trip from the A.D.’s office. ... Don’t tell me I don’t love my team just because I won’t fall for what amounts to ‘emotional extortion’ in an attempt to separate me from my cash in the name of preserving this farce of a streak. Like any relationship, it works both ways."

It's a harsh world when supporting the team that you love simultaneously makes you feel like a rube. College football is trending away from that somewhat with better nonconference schedules, but seemingly only because they have to. If Nebraska's having trouble selling out you know there's something afoot in the wider college football world.

ESPN holds on. The other half of the Big Ten package goes for some dollars as well:

ESPN will pay an average of $190 million per year over six years for essentially half the conference’s media rights package, according to several sources close to the talks. Two months ago, Fox Sports agreed to take the other half of the package for an average of $240 million per year. CBS Sports also has told the conference that it will renew its basketball-only package for $10 million per year.

This is stoking Nebraska fans' ire when they see that windfall and compare it to their pocketbooks. For the league itself it clearly separates the SEC and the Big Ten from the rest of the Power 5, for as much as that actually helps them compete. Survey says… not much. NCAA rules induce a lot of inefficient substitutions that can't overcome proximity.

I wonder if the Big Ten will sit on a big chunk of this money in case the landscape isn't as friendly in six years when these deals expire. At that point it'll be more clear what shape the new media landscape is taking and how much money they can spend without overcommitting to a model that could come apart.

The FOX deal gives them first choice of games, so expect a lot of Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt over the next few years. OSU/Michigan is headed to FOX.

2017 athletic budget items. Michigan is back to break even after some big deficits at the end of the Brandon tenure. The new Nike contract and the return of the International Champions' Cup are aids:

Budgeted corporate sponsorship revenues are projected to increase by $1.49 million due to a new apparel agreement.

• Budgeted facility revenues are projected to increase by $1.4 million due to a special event in Michigan Stadium following a fiscal year with no such events.

Manuel's approach to his budget is slightly different than his predecessor's:

"It's not my mindset to say we're going to use Michigan Stadium to make money," he said Thursday following his budget presentation to the Regents. "We want to look at opportunities where they exist, but I don't step in with a philosophy of, I want to use Michigan Stadium to drive more revenue."

It's fine to use Michigan Stadium to drive more revenue as long as that revenue isn't 1) bankrupting student organizations or 2) flooding commercial breaks at Michigan Stadium with ads for weddings. Extra events are a good thing.

Etc.: Michigan's top newcomer will be a HUGE SURPRISE TO YOU if you just arrived from space from 50 years in the past because of time dilation. NCAA might cut satellite camp window to ten days. That's a more reasonable restriction than zero. Satellite camps cost 0.02 percent of Michigan's athletic department budget. Pride comes before the fall.

Unverified Voracity Has Yet More Hot Takes To Deal With

Unverified Voracity Has Yet More Hot Takes To Deal With

Submitted by Brian on April 14th, 2016 at 1:14 PM

Just another day in the life.

lake-invaders_0One of our photographers wrote a book. You've probably seen Bill Rapai's hockey photos around these parts. If you like those you'll no doubt love his new book, which is about invasive species in the Great Lakes. For some reason it has a picture of an SEC coach reacting to Harbaugh's latest antics on the cover. Bill on the contents:

It’s called Lake Invaders: Invasive species and the battle for the future of the Great Lakes and it explains how these little beasties got here, the damage they are doing, how they might be controlled, and why you should care. (Yes, you should care.) There’s even a chapter on everybody’s favorite invasives, the Asian carps.

It's available on Amazon for anyone who's interested.

DRAKE JOHNSON GOT RUN OVER BY A FORKLIFT!? Yes. He is apparently fine afterwards, if 1) very bruised up and 2) understandably pissed off.

Do not run people over in forklifts, people. I shouldn't have to tell you this.

Tick tock the hot takes don't stop. All it took was for Jim Harbaugh to say some pointedly critical, but true, things for people to lose their minds about the dude. NJ.com columnist Steve Politi has been a reliable source of humor ever since that "Jim Harbaugh may be flashy, but Kyle Flood is real" column, and he is undeterred by being as wrong as humanly possible about that. His reaction to Man Invited To Give Speech may even top his earlier opus:

Steve Politi, a columnist for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, said Paramus Catholic should be ashamed for having Harbaugh give the speech. …

"The big problem here is Paramus Catholic president Jim Vail who, in announcing his decision to give an out-of-state football coach a free infomercial at his school, called Harbaugh a great leader and educator. Come on, Harbaugh speaking to your students is as much a recruiting advantage for your football program as it is for Harbaugh at Michigan."

I love all these accusations that PEOPLE might be DOING THEIR JOBS WELL. While there's no doubt an element of publicity and recruiting on both ends, Jim Harbaugh is also a very interesting and successful person who might want to give people some guidance. And he's sure as hell going to be more interesting than whoever my high school graduation speaker was. I have no idea if there even was one. Chris Ash is openly envious, and he's real, so…

This undercurrent of "wait a second… wait just a minute here! I see what you're doing! You are trying to make your football team good!" is a never-ending source of entertaining spittle these days. Remember that Alabama dude who clutched his pearls and fell over because Michigan's satellite camp at Prattville was really about recruiting? This is just the latest episode. Here's Mike Florio accusing Harbaugh of the blazingly obvious:

If we’re going to pull back the curtain on why the SEC and ACC coaches wanted to keep Harbaugh out of their backyards, it’s only fair to pull back the curtain on why Harbaugh wants to frolic in them. Although Rosenberg does his best to defend the satellite camp process by baking the concept into the apple pie of American dream chasing, it’s obvious that the camps had become at least in part a pretext for recruiting the best players in a setting that, from the perspective of a high school kid, doesn’t feel like recruiting. It all leads to a more organic, authentic, and visceral bond.

That's the point! Also it is good! We have reached the point in this dumb conversation where people are accusing Jim Harbaugh of trying to have a real relationship with the people he recruits. I feel like I am going crazy here.

Yes, e-goons of the world, people have motives. When they pursue those motives within the rules and without negatively impacting anyone, pointing at them and screaming "YOU ARE PURSUING YOUR GOALS" is literally the dumbest argument possible.

I mean, yeah, get on Harbaugh for the various decommits last year. That's a legit criticism. This stuff is moron central.

Shots fired. I assume you've all seen the Harbombing of the satellite camp decision in SI. While Harbaugh talking to a dude who tried to sabotage the program with bogus allegations of NCAA violations is a frequent irritation, I'll take it as long as he's willing to say the things that are true in public:

Says Harbaugh: "You've got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don't want to work harder."

Hugh Freeze responded to this with the time-tested retort of the smarmy gasbag: muh families.

"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."

When someone talks about being a family man in this way they are always attempting to shut down criticism by being holier than thou. See: Dave Brandon's "this hurts my family" talk on his last-ditch media spree after the Shane Morris incident. It also blows by a point: if you don't want to do them, don't do them. Nobody's making you. You are in fact making the demands.

Freeze then doubled down on the smarm by criticizing Harbaugh for being right, but in public:

Along with being recursively hypocritical, this is an admission that Harbaugh is correct but also mean. I like mean.

Elsewhere in shots fired. High school coaches are just as fired up about the ban:

"Realistically, I shouldn't have been surprised." said John Ford, the head coach at Roswell High School, which is located north of Atlanta. "The NCAA works in opposition to what benefits young kids and student athletes. They work to protect the few as opposed to protecting and promoting the many. The hypocrisy is pretty well known."  …

"I've been doing this for 15 years and I know it's really, really helpful for kids at these camps," [Toby] Foreman said. "It makes it extremely difficult, and I personally don't think the NCAA has kids interests at heart. You're almost punishing people for being proactive. Go out and recruit harder. Quit being lazy."

I wonder if the pushback on this is going to be sufficient to torpedo the rule change here. These days a lawsuit-stricken NCAA is very sensitive about public relations, and there are a ton of people on the warpath about this. It is really rare to see guys with skin in the game come out with these kind of statements, and the condemnation for the rule change has been near-universal. The only people sticking up for it are guys like Tony Barnhart who are more or less bought and paid for by the SEC and a less-than-lucid Dennis Dodd.

Tommy Tuberville, for one, thinks that the ban will not stand.

Elsewhere in how Freeze gets work done. Interesting little glimpse inside the sausage factory Freeze is running at Ole Miss from a doofus with money:

An Ocean Springs businessman claimed to have offered his guest house to unnamed college football players rent-free, only to later amend his story. But a source with knowledge of the situation said Scott Walker’s neighbors were told by the renters they paid for a two-night stay at his home last weekend.

Renting his home on a short-term basis would be a violation of local ordinances, and when first contacted by the Mississippi Press Walker said it was “four university players” who were “absolutely not paying” to stay in his guest house.

That raised red flags, because a booster (Walker is an Ole Miss grad and fan) offering free or reduced rent is a clear-cut NCAA violation.

Ole Miss cheats. Hardcore, all the time. That's how a nobody high school coach with one year at Arkansas State who arrives at a school with a fanbase that mostly still wants a plantation owner as their mascot and zero success in the past 50 years starts recruiting five-stars. I'm resigned to the fact that this will happen forever, and that the correct solution is to let people pay the players without repercussions.

But you run the cheatingest program in the country and you get sanctimonious about your free time? Harbaugh's just trying to level the playing field out a little bit here. Freeze can take his vacations and come back knowing that an Ole Miss offer has thousands of dollars behind it that a Michigan one doesn't.

That solution could be on the horizon. Via Get the Picture, this is a potentially huge move towards an Olympic model of amateurism:

Big East commissioner Val Ackerman told SI Now’s Maggie Gray on Friday that the NCAA is reconsidering allowing student athletes to sign endorsement deals.

Under the current rules, student athletes may not be paid for the use of their image or likeness or they would forfeit their amateur status and their collegiate eligibility could be affected. When Gray asked Ackerman why students shouldn’t be able to capitalize on the value they bring to their university, Ackerman responded that the NCAA is considering changing that rule.

“That’s one that’s actually under consideration I believe by the NCAA,” Ackerman said. “It’s actually a time right now where student athlete interests are being closely examined. I don’t have an answer for you on that one today but I will say that and a number of other topics are under review, and I think rightly by the NCAA and it’s very possible that over the course of the next year or two as these these ideas work their way through the legislative system you could see changes.”

In the next year or two! As always I will remind you that even if you don't like the idea of players getting paid directly by the university, opening up outside compensation is a very good thing when you command a money cannon like Michigan does.

Warde Manuel sticks up for his guy. Good to see that Manuel isn't shying away from the fight either:

“People say this is Jim Harbaugh, he wants to do it this way,” Manuel told the Free Press today. “No. This is a rule that has been allowable for a long time. With all due respect to … questions about not being able to recruit (during the NCAA quiet period), all that stuff was there before, and people did it. Now it’s no good? Some kind of way, it’s bad for the game? It’s crazy.”

That is direct and devoid of hand-waving CYA business speak, so bully for that.

Elsewhere in laziness. Iowa DE Drew Ott will not get a fifth year after a midseason injury. That's not much of a surprise since he played in six games a year ago and the NCAA does not budge on injury redshirts if you've played more than 30% of a season. The timing of the announcement, however, has irritated many since Ott cannot enter the NFL draft proper and will have to go the supplemental route. Why did this come so late? It's not on the NCAA:

In fairness to the NCAA, it does seem like the lengthiest delays in this entire ordeal were not their end -- it sounds like Ott's case wasn't even sent to the NCAA bodies that rule on this matter until late February.  His case was with Big Ten authorities until that point.  What took the Big Ten so long?  Good question -- and one that neither Ott nor Kirk Ferentz had an answer for during their press conference earlier today.  So perhaps our ire at the glacial pace of the decision-making in this situation should be directed at Jim Delany & Co. rather than the NCAA folks.

That is especially odd since Mario Ojemudia suffered a similarly ill-timed injury and found out he would not get an exception in December.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with MSU's attempt to get sixth years for three players, all of whom appear to have taken voluntary redshirts. MSU keeps telling people they'll be back but the NCAA is very strict about sixth years; going to be tough to come up with sufficient documentation about an injury when these guys have bios declaring they were scout team player of the week.

Etc.: FFS just fire Butch Jones already. Willie Henry getting talked up as a second rounder now. Cut off one of Harbaugh's heads and he grows two more.

Warde Manuel Presser 4/1/16: Part 2

Warde Manuel Presser 4/1/16: Part 2

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 4th, 2016 at 11:00 AM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Tonight's spring game obviously another primetime event, something new for the school. As you guys continue to do new things, how do you balance that with the tradition and expectations at a school like Michigan?

"Well, I think you try something, you see how it works, you see what it brings, what it brings to the team and the staff and what they're trying to do. I don't know the thinking of Jim as it relates to—we haven't talked about the spring game on Friday, whether that's something that he wants to do consistently or if he's trying something out this year and so we'll be there and see how it goes and see what comes of it and see what the feedback is from it, but it doesn't bother me that it's a nighttime spring game. The tradition's been normally, what, Saturday at 1 o'clock or 12 o'clock or something like that? You know, it's done differently at different places and this is something that he wanted to try and we'll see how it goes."

Speaking of night football, you recently expressed an affinity for football games in the daylight. Do you anticipate that that will influence schedules in future years, and some of your predecessors anticipated influence from the Big Ten wanting Michigan to play more night games—your thoughts in that area, too?

"It could be that we play more night games in the future. We talked about it this year as I was coming in and made the decision that this year we wouldn't have a night game at Michigan Stadium. You know, I was told—because I'm not a Twitterer—that I was getting heat because I said that I didn't like playing games at night, jokingly said that because if people would have heard the other part of what I said I said because I played for Bo, who thought you should always play at 12 or 1 o'clock. In my career as an athletic director and athletic administrator I played a lot of night games. I'm not against them, but in the discussions that I had with many upon walking through the door it was decided that we didn't want to play a night game here this year.

"So whether they'll be played in the future, I'm not against them. I think some of our fans like them, and I think I heard some of our fans that would prefer day games but I know our fans love Michigan football and whether it's played in the day or it's played at night they want to see our team have success.

"Last year we played a significant…I shouldn't say significant. How many night games did we play on the road last year? Three. I know the fans are interested in night games, but that's really taxing, particularly coming back late at night for the team, those kind of things. So we considered a lot before we said we wouldn't have a night game this year, but in the future there could be night games at Michigan Stadium in the future."

There's been a lot of talk two years ago after the Shane Morris concussion incident of increased safety measures and then talk about that here and there since then. Have you gotten a chance to evaluate those and do you have any plans for changes there?

"We're going to constantly evaluate the safety protocol for our student-athletes. It's something that we did obviously with that incident being so nationally prominent [and] that you do, but we're going to constantly look at the protocol. Not only in-game protocol but practice.

"I know coach Harbaugh and the staff and the medical staff are monitoring and talking about impact not only of concussions but injuries during practice. The coaches are constantly aware of how much practice and hitting is going on. They're monitoring that for the good of their team, of the individual student-athlete.

"The protocol is set but we're going to continue monitoring that to make sure it's where it needs to be for the safety of our student-athletes across the board. So yes, I'm confortable with where we are now and I'm comfortable that we will continue to evaluate all measures of safety for all of our student-athletes to make sure that it's the best that it could be."

How and when will you officially launch the Nike apparel, and for you, when you saw the Jumpman logo on football, is that cutting edge in your mind, that deal that was cut?

"Yeah. Officially Nike becomes our apparel supplier August 1st. We're proud of the relationship that we had with Adidas, but on August 1st we will officially again become a Nike apparel school and at that point in time the staff—I haven't had but I will have a breakdown of all the things that are being planned, but on August 1st, at that point in time is when we will celebrate the relationship or right around that date, don't hold me to it. But August 1st is the date we officially become a Nike school again."

[After THE JUMP: Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman, them boys up for discussing committable offers and transfer policies]

Warde Manuel Presser 4/1/16: Part 1

Warde Manuel Presser 4/1/16: Part 1

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 2nd, 2016 at 2:24 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

How has the role of athletic director changed?

"Well, I don't know that the role has changed. The magnitude has grown in terms of salaries and the like but I think the people and the effort to really contribute to the success of these students on the student and athletic side is still there. So in the sense of the magnitude financially, particularly here, there's been a lot of growth.

"Actually, to your point, Drew, just this morning when I was in a meeting coach Berenson brought in an article from back in 1984 with the salaries of the coaches back then ,and he was looking for something and found it and thought I'd enjoy it and I did. At that time Bo Schembechler was making more than Don Canham, and it didn't surprise me. The amount he was paid surprised me back in that day compared to now, but I don't think things have changed much in terms of decision making, in terms of effort on the focus on helping these young people, the focus on helping them to produce success on the fields of play—I think those things are all still the same."

Is it harder though for an AD nowadays to take a backseat to more high-profile coaches?

"No, not for me. I never see it in—if you're truly a team there's times where I'll have to step to the podium and address things and there's times where coach Harbaugh and other coaches will be up front. I never have concern about who's in the front, who's in the back. As long as we're all in the same car moving forward I'm good with it."

[/long pause]

"Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it."

Your thoughts on the extraordinary attention your old teammate Jim Harbaugh seems to draw, and how you see your role in working with him, overseeing him, [and] assisting him.

"Well, first and foremost, the Jim Harbaugh that I have known and know now is not the person who's out there seeking this for his own benefit. If the attention comes—it seems to come often—I don't think its…as I've talked to him over the last four or five weeks, it's nothing intentional he's doing to say, 'I want attention.' He's going to do things on Twitter, he's going to make the responses to questions the way he wants to do it, but there's nothing that he's doing to try to bring attention to him. I think he's doing what's in the best interest of the team.

"He's going to defend Michigan and Michigan football, and if that creates some attention, if the things he does to make this football team better create attention and that comes with it then he realizes that's just what's going to happen. He's doing it because—everything we've talked about that he's done he's doing because he thinks it's in the best interest of Michigan football, and for that, for me, I don't mind him getting the attention that he gets."

There's been a lot written about the transgressions, for example, or Syracuse and North Carolina in the Final Four. You've got a basketball program that's run by a guy that most people think is clean. What's the balance there? Obviously you want to win at the highest level but you don't want to get into those gray areas. How do you kind of walk that line?

"You do and you focus on doing the right things on a daily basis. And I'm not going to sit in judgment of any institution. They have people there that are trying to make sure that things are done the right way, and sometimes it happens that you don't. You deal with the penalties, you deal with the things that have to come out, and you move forward to get better.

"What we do is going to try and work at it on a daily basis to emphasize the things that are important. I tell people here all the time, we're here to focus on the academic success of our students; we're here to focus on developing them to win championships and compete for championships; we're here to develop them as young people and win and do all that within the rules, and lastly we're going to have fun doing it.

"I'm not going to comment or sit in judgment of other institutions because I know many of my colleagues across the country are trying to do those same things. Where there are issues you deal with them. You deal with them quickly and effectively and [inaudible because somebody coughed] so that they don't happen again."

[After THE JUMP: Satellite camps, whether there are changes needed in the department, Red's future, and the unexploitable Fitbit system]

Unverified Voracity Wants A Player Haters' Tribune

Unverified Voracity Wants A Player Haters' Tribune

Submitted by Brian on February 2nd, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Basketball preview here.

Super Saturday. Photos from the doubleheader from the Players' Tribune:

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The Manuel UConn tenure. Jeff Jacobs has an exellent, comprehensive rundown of Warde Manuel's tenure at the UConn AD. Some UConn fans blame him for the Huskies getting left behind in the zombie Big East while Louisville got the golden ticket to the ACC; other than that somewhat fanciful complaint his tenure was rock-solid:

There are people who disagree with this, but Manuel handled the Kevin Ollie hiring as full-time coach just about perfectly. Ollie's biggest supporters, some who held their own power, wanted Ollie to get a long-term contract immediately. Manuel wanted to get to know Ollie, wanted to see him in action. Ask yourself this: What defined Ollie? He always had to work the hardest to prove himself on the court and that narrative continued for more than a decade in the NBA. If he was to be a success, the best possible outcome would be for Manuel to wait, like what he saw and give him that long-term deal three to four months into his job. That's what happened.

When Ollie was on his way to winning a national championship in 2014, there was Manuel ahead of the curve to lock in Ollie with a new five-year deal.

UConn's four major sports (football, both basketballs, and hockey) are all on the upswing or maintaining a high level of success. Manuel also pulled UConn out of a Jim Calhoun-generated APR disaster and spearheaded a move to Hockey East.

He's gone as soon as the NFL comes calling. Harbaugh writes an article for the Players' Tribune:

I’ve talked to a lot of people who feel that way about Michigan — and I’ve talked to a lot of other people who feel that way about their college, too. It happens everywhere. You probably feel that way about where you went to college.

But in my unscientific surveying of people I’ve talked to, I feel that it happens the most here at Michigan.

Which is why finally, I moved to Ann Arbor a third time. To be the head football coach.

A lot of people outside of Michigan asked me why I decided to make that third move to Ann Arbor. It’s pretty simple: I love football. I love coaching. I love Michigan. And for me, there’s no better place for those three things than right here in Ann Arbor.

It doesn't hurt that there's no megalomaniacal guy in a fur coat hovering over his shoulder in Ann Arbor.

As a side note, do you know what I see in my head whenever I hear "Players' Tribune"?

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This is what I see, except with cards that read "PRESS" sticking out of their hats.

A firm-ish return date. Beilein on Levert's return:

It's good to have a timeframe. It's unfortunate that timeframe isn't a little quicker now that Michigan's World Tour Of Bad Big Ten Basketball has concluded.

Death to autobench, in numbers. Tucked away in a piece on Washington having an unprecedented number of guys foul out is this note on the most DQ-averse team in college basketball:

By the way, there has been only one team to avoid a disqualification this season. The last time a Michigan player fouled out was February 17th of last season when the human box-score line-break, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman fouled out against Michigan State. My stance on when to sit players in foul trouble is somewhere between “ignore foul trouble completely” and “always sit guys in the first half that have two fouls”. It’s a very tough problem to study. But it seems to me that if you do subscribe to the latter approach, the fact that none of your players are fouling out is an indication your instincts for loss aversion are too strong.

The fact that Michigan fouls so rarely in the first place makes the autobench even more frustrating in practice. It is what it is; it's a blind spot.

Recruitin' rabblin'. Andy Staples on the decommit thing:

We'll need to hear Michigan's side of the Swenson case before passing judgment, and NCAA rules will keep Wolverines coaches from publicly discussing the specifics of Swenson's recruitment until after he signs. If it turns out Michigan's staff waited until January to tell Swenson—who committed to then-coach Brady Hoke in November 2013—he wasn't wanted, then the Wolverines deserve criticism for being lousy communicators. If Swenson had this knowledge in September or October, he could have reopened his recruitment earlier at a time when other schools would have had more open slots. The well-paid grown-ups here should be held to a higher standard than the high school students, and if Swenson's camp is telling the truth, Michigan's staff might need to learn how and when to break bad news.

It beggars belief that Swenson's camp is telling a full and honest accounting of the story if only because Michigan insiders started chattering about his place in the class months before the actual decommit, first privately and then in public. A final decision may have been delayed; if he didn't know it was because he didn't want to. Either way, Michigan should be explicit about these things much earlier.

The bump. Bill Connelly has an article on the "Bama bump," which is the perception that recruits committed to or recruited by Alabama get rankings boosts. Some services say  they peek; others say no way:

To summarize, Luginbill said, "It absolutely exists because of subscription sales." Scout's Brandon Huffman said, "We don't do it, but others might." 247Sports's JC Shurburtt said, "Nah, but they do produce a lot of NFL talent, which matters," which seems like a roundabout way of saying it does kind of exist, only for reasons other than subscription sales.

Only Rivals' Mike Farrell said, "Nope!"

The denials here are odd, since re-evaluating a prospect once you get information like "Nick Saban is a fan" seems, you know, sensible. Connelly is in favor of the bump, and for the most part so am I. And it does exist. In Michigan's case it's usually when they become interested in a lower-rated guy. An unranked or two star player is about 99% likely to work his way up into generic three-star territory by the time Signing Day rolls around.

And for all of Luginbill's protestations, they absolutely do bump guys. When Khaleke Hudson committed to Michigan he was rated a 74 and below guys headed to Georgia Southern and schools of that ilk. Fast forward to today and he's flown up 34 spots. But that's fine! Before the bump Hudson's ranking looked plainly goofy. I think you should be humble enough to take Harbaugh's opinion into account when you rank guys. It's a better system than "did this guy show up to our camp," for sure.

Now, it's possible that Bama sees guys in the manicured regions move up. I don't follow their recruiting closely enough to know. This is not generally the case for Michigan commits, who tend to slide gradually as the recruiting year goes along. When I do job interviews I ask why this is, and I don't think I've heard the correct answer yet*. Michigan commits tend to slide because they stay the same while a select group of recruits below them emerge into big-time prospects. When you're perched in the top 10% of all high school recruits the direction you generally go is down even if you are ranked correctly.

*[It's still useful for hearing a person's ability to reason on the fly.]

Glasgow on Harbaugh. Stay enthusiastic, my friends:

“You know those commercials, The Most Interesting Man In The World? He’s like the most interesting coach in the world,” Glasgow said this week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

“He’s a really, really genuine guy and he just really cares about his players. Even though he looks crazy out there on game days and all that stuff, he’s really not like that behind closed doors.”

Only refs and people who drive slowly cause Harbaugh to throw conniption fits. BTW, we already have a "jim harbaugh is the most interesting man in the world" tag.

Jimmy & Johnny. Ann Arbor Pioneer is inducting Jim and John Harbaugh into the Hall of Fame of Purple-Wearing Athlete People on March 11; the eventbrite site just went live yesterday. The Facebook page has been posting vintage photos all week of the Harbros and here's one contest that was over before it began:

Sam & Ira are hosting, and they've invited us. 

Michigan replay, 1992. Check the sweater:

Etc.: Former Gilman head coach Biff Poggi is taking another head coaching job in Maryland and thus won't be joining the staff. Carr on the Manuel hire. The year in Harbaugh hijinks. Baumgardner has a long article in which Lorenz and Trieu offer some takes on the class. Why Holtz is going to SOTS.

Jedd Fisch gets a nice extension. Michigan expects to have a night game this year.

Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16

Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 29th, 2016 at 3:37 PM

[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

President Schlissel

Good morning everyone, and thank you for coming. Before today's very special announcement I want to acknowledge the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Their support, their dedicatio,n and their advice during this process was invaluable. Joining us today our region's Bernstein, Ilitch, Dietch, White, and Diggs, and I'm sure the others are busily at their day jobs and watching us on television.

I'm pleased to announce that I have selected Warde Manuel to serve as the next Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan. [/clapping.] My work here is now done. [/aughs.]

Warde will begin on March the 14th. Warde knows how to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the field. He is a three-time University of Michigan alumnus with a degree in general studies and a focus in psychology, a Masters in social work, and an MBA from our Ross School of Business. He was a University of Michigan student athlete in football and track and field and played under Bo Schembechler.

I want to thank interim A.D. Jim Hackett for his exemplary service to the athletic department and the University of Michigan. Jim, could you please stand up? [/clapping] For more than a year Jim served with a level of distinction and integrity befitting the University of Michigan's highest values. He accomplished a great deal in a very short time and leaves the department in wonderful shape. He brought us Coach Harbaugh, contract extensions for coaches John Beilein and Kim Barnes-Arico, a new apparel contract with Nike, and most importantly has upheld the high expectations we have for the academic, social, and community success of our student athletes on our 31 teams. Jim's willingness to assist with the A.D. search has helped me identify an outstanding successor.

In addition to him I also think the six other members of the search and advisory committee. I thank student government president Cooper Charlton for advice, and our search consultants Len Perna and Gene DeFillipo from Turnkey for their excellent work. We reached out and solicited broad community input and we set the bar high in our search for a permanent athletic director. We considered a large pool of outstanding candidates. Central criteria included a focus on the success and well-being of our student athletes in the classroom, in their sport, in the Ann Arbor community, and with respect to their health and safety; uncompromising integrity with an absolute commitment to play and win by the rules; competitiveness at the highest levels – at Michigan we strive for league and national championships, every team, every year; a passion for integrating athletics with the entirety of our campus community– we are at our best when our strengths as a university complement and enhance one another; respect and appreciation for the U of M's traditions, including the importance of athletics to our students, our alumni, and our fans. We were looking for an innovative but financially responsible steward for our self-supporting athletic department, and someone who can be a national voice for maintaining and enhancing the collegiate model of athletics.

Warde brings outstanding athletics experience to Michigan and embodies all of those characteristics and values. He has worked in our athletic department under former A.D. Bill Martin. Since then he has served as an A.D. at Buffalo and Connecticut, where his teams have won championships and dramatically improved classroom performance. Michigan athletics is celebrating its 150th anniversary this academic year and our University is gearing up to celebrate it's 200th birthday. Nowhere else are traditions of excellence in academics and athletics measured in centuries. The amazing accomplishments of our teams and student-athletes bring our community together in celebration of the values and success and we are known for worldwide: 56 team national championships, 307 individual national titles, 376 Big Ten championships, and 121 academic All-Americans. I have every confidence that our future will be even brighter, and Warde Manuel is the right individual to lead Michigan athletics into that future. Warde, on behalf of the Michigan family I welcome you, your wife Chrislan, and your family back to Ann Arbor. I look forward to working with you, and let me be the first to say to our next athletic director Go Blue.

[After THE JUMP: Manuel's remarks, in which I will butcher someone’s name and I apologize for that but I think he thanked the entire staff of the University and Google only gets you so far]